Thursday June 28, 2007

We awoke to a beautiful morning in Reykjavik. The clouds and wind had moved on and it was lovely and sunny. We stayed up too late which is easy to do when it’s continually bright outside. I think I’m still adjusting to the time change from Seattle/East Coast and the long days.

We had a nice dinner last night at an Italian Restaurant Rospomodoro. There seems to be a lot of Italian places here, but they all serve Icelandic food. Greg had a shot of the Brennivin the Icelandic signature beverage (40% alcohol) which translates literally to “black death”. It was traditionally had along with “hakari” the putrified shark people ate after burying it (the shark) in the ground to preserve it. It masked the shark’s “blue-cheese” like taste. Despite being very cheap it’s not popular with the younger generation (many of whom have drug and alcohol problems) as they drink the newer brands Opal and Icelandic beer. I had a sip and it was fine. A bit like Robitussan. Quite medicinal and warmed the belly. Greg had monkfish with potatoes. Fresh and very good. No Icelandic wine to speak of but whatever I drank and ate was fine. We have walked a ton here so food was a welcome thing. Other delicacies I may (or may not) try are signed sheep heads, ram testicles, and liver and blood pudding. According to one of the books I read hot dogs are a national favorite here. Lots of hot dog stands which I think mostly serve tourists that find the prices incredibly high here and the folks coming out of the bars after a heavy night of drinking that are hungry.

Today (Thursday the 28th) we started the day at one of the many Wi-Fi cafes with coffee and breakfast. It was 10am or so and not many people out. Perhaps they were all at work, or it being summer, partied late into the night and were still asleep. We then walked back to the H. (I can’t keep re-spelling this) church and rode the elevator to the top for wonderful 360 views of the city. Really, a lovely view and wonderful photo opportunities. I would not recommend going at the turn of the hour however, as the bells ring out right above your head. Ouch! They were having an organ concert today as they do several times a week during the summer. We had the place mostly to ourselves though, which was very nice.

We then walked quite a ways to the Reykjavik zoo and family park. It was a nice walk though residential areas. The standard of living is high in Iceland and it is reflected in the nice homes all geo-thermally heated from the hot water beneath the earth. The zoo is near athletic parks and a large outdoor soccer field. The zoo was fairly quiet for being such a nice summer day and wasn’t exactly a zoo with a wide variety of animals. There were several seals, some Icelandic horses, goats, sheep, live crabs in a tank (lunch?), roosters and chickens. Next door were the botanical gardens which basically had a few Icelandic species of plants and plants from the rest of the world. Plenty of representations from the Pacific NW. Lots of people here enjoying the sun. I believe there will be quite a few sunburnt people tomorrow (Greg included).

We wound our way back towards the downtown part of the city and happened to stumble upon The Asmundarsafn (Reykjavik Art Museum), the Asmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum dedicated to the works of the sculptor Asmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982) housed in a beautiful white domed building where he had his studios for years. The building is unique designed and constructed by Sveinsson from 1942-1950 The idea behind the building stems from the Mediterranean, the domed houses of the Arabic tradition and the pyramids of Egypt. THe building housed his studios and his home until he built a home behind the studios to make his work more accessible to the public. The sculptures were incredible. The day was sunny so the blue sky streamed through the white building onto the marble floors and sculptures. The gardens outside had more sculptures. Again, not many people there at all. Fine by me.

We walked back the city and went in search of the Phallic Museums which, of course, Greg had to see. We looked and looked but it was too small to find (: > ) Finally we asked a women at a hotel and she said it had moved to the north of the country. Maybe Greg will still get to go. Unfortunately he had to console himself with a cafe latte and an hour of WOW playing back at the hotel before we ventured out for a somewhat early-ish dinner (7:30pm).

Tomorrow is our last day in Reykjavik. We have to leave by noon and get to the bus terminal to pick up our 4X4 camper so no staying up all night. Our box of hiking clothes finally arrived from the states to the hotel today. Yay! I’m hoping for nice weather but you can’t tell what will happen in the city let alone the rest of the Island (By the way Iceland is spelled Island which confused me at first as I couldn’t figure out why there were so many Island banks). I’ll be sad to leave this city as it’s just wonderful.